Goldman Family
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#gldm-4:The Goldman Family, St. Petersburg, 1882
Courtesy of New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division and The Emma Goldman Papers
Left to right: Emma, standing; Helena, seated, with Morris on her lap; Taube; Herman; Abraham.
Taube Goldman, date unknown
Abraham Goldman, date unknown

Courtesy of The Emma Goldman Papers and International Institute of Social History

#gldm-7:Emma Goldman, 1886

Emma Goldman (1869-1940)Born to Taube Bienowitch and Abraham Goldman in the Jewish quarter of in Kovno, Russian city in (now) Lithuania
in Lithuania, 27 June 1869, Goldman experienced a traumatic youth. She grew up in a family providing little love, her parents the product of an arranged marriage. Abraham invested the little money they had in a business that failed, leaving a family of seven with little to live on.
Abraham sent Emma to Germany to live with her grandmother and attend school. Her uncle ended up withdrawing her from the school and pocketed the tuition sent from her father.
She returned home and enrolled in school. Many of her teachers were cruel to her as well. The religious instructor would severely discipline the children by flailing students palms with a ruler. Emma talked back to him, resulting in ill feelings between the two. One of the geography teachers would punish the girls in a different way. Instead of hitting them, after class he would touch them in improper ways. In the middle of class, Emma yelled at him for doing this when all the other girls were afraid to speak up. Emma was considered a troublemaker by many of the teachers because she would do what she wanted. If she felt that the teacher was asking for something that was unjust and unfair, then she refused to comply.
Emma did have a favorite teacher at school. Her German teacher provided much after hours help to her, allowing her into her house, reading German novels to her. She encouraged Emma to take up French and reading more literature. Emma completed three and a half years at this school. She was offered a chance to attend the high school. She studied diligently and easily passed the entrance exam. The only remaining requirement was a satisfactory recommendation from her religious instructor, the same that thought of Emma as a troublemaker with no respect for authority. (Alix Shulman To the Barricades: The Anarchist Life of Emma Goldman, p 20) With no chance for admission to the high school, Emma travels with her family to St. Petersburg, Russia
Russian society for the working class was progressively growing worse. Czar Alexander II was assassinated 1 March 1881 by Nihilists, hoping for a Russian revolution and overthrow of the government. The movement failed and Alexander III began an even more oppressing rule, vowing to crush all revolutionary activity and destroy all radical opinion of every kind. (Shulman, p 24) Jews were blamed for the assassination and targeted for severe oppression. The government searched for any radical movements in order to squelch any revolutions before they started. Books, journals, and papers were banned and censored. Emma studied in school, reading Russian literature and slowly learning more about the terrible social injustices around her. Her and her older sister, Helena, finally flee the country for America in December 1885.
Goldman entered a new country where she assumed that she had escaped the traditional barriers to women's freedom so pervasive in the old world. She settled with relatives in 1885 in Rochester, New York. Sadly she discovered that family life in the Jewish ghetto of Rochester and piecework in the textile factory did not differ significantly from what she had left behind in Russia. Asserting her new freedom in intimate life in America, Goldman soon fell in love with a co-worker and chose to marry him.
In early May 1886, workers strike for an eight-hour workday. On 4 May at a gathering of workers in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, a bomb is thrown, killing seven police officers. A number of “anarchists and organizers of the event are held responsible (Candace Falk Emma Goldman: A Guide to Her Life and Documentary Sources p 2) and executed. Goldman was so moved by the hanging that it was like a religious conversion. For the rest of her life, she would remember that Black Friday as the day of her social awakening, and the martyred men as the most decisive influence of my existence. (Shulman p 46) She had found her new position in life, answering the call of the young girls in Russia and all over the world that had to endure injustices as she had. She had found real revolutionaries to admire instead of merely characters in a book. She could not only think as and support the anarchists, but also had to act on her feelings. From that point on, Emma Goldman energetically dedicated her life to fighting, like the Haymarket martyrs, for anarchism. (Shulman p 48)
Many people do not know exactly what the anarchists advocate. Shulman defines anarchism as:
A political and social system opposed to all forms of government based on force. An anarchist society would have no laws, no lawmakers, no officials, no police, no armies, no institutions, or even any customs or traditions that people would be forced to obey against their will. (P 50)
Opponents claimed that an anarchic society would be chaotic without government order and law. Without limitations on people’s actions there would be the increased injustices, with the strong stealing from the weak and helpless. Anarchists claim that people are inherently good and given the absence of forcible law and order, would make the choice that is beneficial to the majority. Taking into account Goldman’s childhood, this would seem logical. People who had been repressed by the few elite in control over the government would be sympathetic to others being tormented by similar forces.
With the crystallization of Goldman's political ideas came changes in her personal life. Risking the stigma of divorce, Goldman left her husband and headed for a new life, first in New Haven, then in New York City. Within a year she was living in a commune with other Russian-born anarchists, including her first great love and eventual life-long comrade, Alexander Berkman. The twenty-year-old idealist soon became a prominent member of New York City's immigrant anarchist community
Goldman begins to read much anarchist literature regularly, and becomes friends with publishers of anarchist papers. She begins to meet with prominent Russian socialists and anarchists and attends lectures. On 15 August 1889, Emma travels to New York City and meets the editor of Die Freiheit, an anarchist publication. She begins support work at the office of the publication and helps organize the second anniversary memorial of those hung for the Haymarket Square bombing. In January of 1890, the editor plans for Goldman to go on a lecture tour, addressing the limitations of the eight-hour movement. (Falk p 3) She finds that she has a real talent as an orator, and decides to use this talent to spread her political opinions.
Goldman begins to travel all over New England giving speeches ranging in topics from the Paris Commune, 1871, to The Right To Be Lazy. Speaking mostly in German, sometimes in Yiddish, to groups, Emma encourages workers to join unions and strike for better working conditions. She also organized anarchist educational and social groups for German, Russian, and Jewish immigrants. (Falk p 3) She spoke to groups such as the International Working People’s Association, the Workingmen’s Educational Society, Pioneers of Liberty, and the International Workingmen’s Association. Goldman marched with the Working Women’s Society in New Yorks May Day Parade on 1 May 1891. She addressed judicial issues concerning anarchists that had been arrested. At times, Emma wishes to return to Russia to combat the system of government there under Czar Alexander III.
On 21 August 1893, Goldman leads a march to Union Square, where she advocated the right to take bread if [workers] are hungry, and to demonstrate their needs before the palaces of the rich. (Falk p 5) Ten days later, Goldman is arrested for incitement to riot. She is found guilty of aiding and abetting an unlawful assemblage, and is sentenced to Blackwell’s Island penitentiary for one year, serving ten months.
Emma learned much in prison, reading much German and English literature. She made many friends, revolutionaries and anarchists. Prison mates admired her for standing up to authority, namely when she refused to force the prison sewing shop to work harder, comparing it to a slave driver. Even the warden admired her for her trustworthiness, honesty, and good principles, calling her a model prisoner. (Shulman, p 101) Reflecting on her stay in prison, Goldman thankfully says that it has changed none of my old sentiments; on the contrary, it has made them more ardent, more absolute than ever, and henceforward all that remains to me of life can be summed up in one word: liberty. (Shulman, p 103)
Upon her release from prison, Goldman resolves ton hold more lectures in English in order to preach to the ever-growing numbers of American radicals. She travels back to Europe to speak, finding the freedoms of speech in England very inviting. When she returns to America, she travels west and gives lectures in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and other states. Subjects for her speeches included What is Anarchism? The Women in the Present and Future, Free Love, The Aim of Humanity and Woman, Marriage, and Prostitution. (Falk, p 11)
After the assassination of President McKinley in September 1901, Goldman was immediately linked to the crime when the assassin proclaimed that he was an anarchist. By this time Goldman had earned the reputation of America’s best-known anarchist. Of course, no connection could be established since there was none, and Emma was released. Ironically, Emma was the only person to stand up for the rights of the assassin. She called for others to aid in his defense, but not even other anarchists helped. She was so disgusted with the reaction that “for a time she withdrew completely from the movement.” (Shulman, p 127) Eventually, answering the repressive cries from Russia, she begins to make speeches again and organize movements. Working under an assumed name, Goldman organized the Free Speech League, reaching many different reform and radical groups.
for the rest go to http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/Encyclopedia/GoldmanEmma/goldmanWright.htm

#gldm-8:Emma Goldman speaking to a crowd of garment workers about birth control in Union Square, New York, May 20, 1916
#gldm-9:Mug shot of Goldman, 1901
Courtesy of The Library of Congress - Prints and Photographs Division and The Emma Goldman Papers